The World Bank through its Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is assisting the government of Mexico to position disaster risk management (DRM) as a priority topic for Mexico’s G20 presidency in 2012.
Natural disasters are non-discriminatory, affecting G20 countries and non-G20 countries alike. Today we have the knowledge, experience and tools to help mitigate risks and prevent avoidable disasters. And we know that if done right, prevention pays—there are cost-effective steps governments can take to protect populations and assets.
We also know the importance of good data and information as the foundation of any comprehensive disaster risk management strategy. However, more work is needed to ensure the information leads to better decisions for more resilient development. By placing DRM on the G20 agenda for the first time, Mexico is elevating building resilience to natural hazards to the highest level with the Heads of State and Ministers of Finance of G20 countries. Recognizing that despite prevention and mitigation efforts, no country can ever fully insulate itself against losses from major natural disasters, this initiative will focus on providing guidance to support national governments to better assess disaster risks and develop financial resilience strategies. This is a field in which Mexico has been a leader for many years, pushing the boundaries and implementing innovative solutions.
Dario Luna, who leads the Insurance, Pensions and Social Security unit in Mexico's Ministry of Finance, is coordinating this initiative for the Mexican government.. “We in Mexico give a lot of importance to disaster risk reduction (DRR) because we are a country that is prone to disasters,” Luna said. “As presidency of the G20, we wanted to put this topic on the agenda―emphasizing the reduction of both human and economic costS. One of the key aspects of our changing world is the increased exposure to natural disasters. We believe that this effort will help DRR gain more prominence in G20 countries and with finance ministers.”
G20 Steps up to the Plate
A Country Steering Group (CSG), chaired by Mexico and bringing together policy makers from G20 members, is providing advice and strategic guidance to the initiative to ensure the DRM work reflects the policy priorities of all countries and builds on ongoing work.
On Wednesday, April 18, the first meeting of the Country Steering Group took place in the margins of the 2012 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings. A resounding success, with 22 countries around the table and almost 40 participants, this meeting showcased the strong support by the governments of G20 countries to make this initiative count towards strengthening resilience to natural disasters. Hosted in the World Bank by GFDRR it was especially encouraging to see that countries across the board voiced strong support for this work, particularly emphasizing that this should not only focus on G20 countries, but also on countries not directly participating in this forum.
At the meeting, delegates highlighted the importance of a flexible approach to knowledge exchange, awareness raising and sharing good practices. Moreover, building on the ongoing work of the World Bank and other international institutions, it was emphasized that an increased focus on supporting countries around the world in building resilience to natural disasters has to be at the center of this work.
The outcomes of the meeting informed the meetings of the Deputies and Ministers of Finance taking place later in the week.
Ahead of the G20 Summit on June 18-19, 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico, the government of Mexico and the World Bank are jointly producing a publication on Improving the Assessment of Natural Disaster Risks to Strengthen Financial Resilience. In response to a call for papers issued by the Mexican G20 Presidency, 15 countries represented in the G20 as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are contributing their own experience in managing the risks of disasters and implementing financial protection strategies.
Content courtesy of Benedikt Signer, Christina Irene, and Anita Gordon, GFDRR. For more information, please contact Christina Irene at email@example.com.
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